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Keeping an estate plan current may avoid future problems

New York residents who have estate plans in place should be advised that reevaluating them on a regular basis or when life-changing events occur is a prudent thing to do. It is recommended that staying current avoids problems in the future.

Assets and even family composition may change over time, and what was once an adequate accounting of an individual's estate may also change. Life events such as marriage, the birth of children, divorce and asset acquisition change, and efficient estate planning takes this into account. Some planners advise that estate plans be reviewed on a regularly scheduled basis and, at the very least, when life-altering events occur. Estate planning revision may also allow new tax laws to be incorporated into the documents.

High-profile disputes between family members are many times the result of poorly-executed, out-of-date estate plans. A dispute of this kind may be damaging to the family and might have been avoided if the plan was current. There are multiple reasons revision is not done but two of the most common are cost and the discomfort the subject may have for the family. In addition, some financial planners do not advocate that their clients reevaluate their plans leaving them open to future problems.

Estate planning incorporates the wishes an individual has for themselves and their heirs. The estate plan may include wills and trusts, and consulting an attorney may provide the best way to adequately provide for asset dispersal in the future. Further, granting a financial power of attorney is a way to assure financial stability if an individual becomes unable to adequately execute their financial duties for some reason. Health care directives may be beneficial to include in estate planning as well. An attorney may offer guidance and insight into ways the estate plan may be improved or revised.

Source: Forbes, "Why You Should Update Your Estate Plan", Russ Alan Prince, July 03, 2014

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